Butterfly Lovers Violin Concert Analysis

The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto was written for western style orchestra and features a solo violin played using some Chinese techniques. This piece retains the Chinese flavor but however to some extent. The reason why I have chosen this question and this piece is because as a violinist, I have the interest in how the violin in The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto is a western instrument, but however it is still able to capture some of the Chinese style.

In this essay, I will be comparing the recording of the original composition of The Butterfly Lovers with Violin solo and the Yue Opera. This piece portrays the famous Chinese folktale ‘Liang-Zhu’ (The Butterfly Lovers). Although this is a one-movement programmatic concerto, it has
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The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto is written in traditional 5-note technique (pentatonic scale) and uses many Chinese melodies, chord structures and patterns. This gives a distinctive “Chinese” sound, though it uses tonal harmonies. Music techniques in classical music, such as variations or cyclical forms, do not appear out of place in the Buttefly Lovers Violin Concerto. In the section of Zhu’s resistance to arriage, there is syncopated chords and agitated rhythm from Chinese traditional instruments mix together, conveying stress and tension with disharmonious musical effect. “Adopting methods frequently used in Chinese Opera, such as Jin La Man Chang (fast bowing and slow singing), not only strikes a chord in Chinese audience, but also embellishes the music with unique Chinese features,” says …show more content…
The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto written by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang definitely does retain some of the Chinese flavor but however to some extent. From the use of instrument (violin) itself, causes it to lose some of the Chinese flavor when being compared to the Erhu and Chinese orchestra version as the authentic folk instrument (Erhu) has distinct Chinese flavor. Though the violin solo uses the Erhu’s performance techniques, it does help to make it sound closer to Erhu, but however it is still not able to capture the emotion that the Erhu gives. In conclusion, my stand is that The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto is able to capture the Chinese origin flavor but there is limitations to it as it cannot achieve the similar effects/sounds as the Erhu and Chinese orchestra

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